Learn On How To Grow And Harvest Taro
Snack chips made of sweet potato, yucca, and parsnip have recently become popular, ostensibly as a healthier alternative to the fried and salty potato chip. Growing and harvesting your own taro roots and then converting them into chips is another healthy option. Taro is the common name for a huge range of plants that belong to the Araceae family. There are several edible taro cultivars suitable for the garden within the family. Taro is also known as ‘dasheen,’ and is also referred to as ‘elephant ears,’ because of its huge leaves. The starchy sweet tuber of this perennial tropical to subtropical plant is cultivated.
The leaf can also be consumed and cooked in the same way as other greens. Minerals and vitamins A, B, and C are abundant. The greens are popularly boiled down into a delicacy called callaloo in the Caribbean. The tuber is boiled and mashed into a poi paste, which was once a popular Hawaiian dish. Taro flour is a great ingredient to infant formulas and baby foods because the starch in the giant tubers or corms of taro is particularly digestible. It is a good source of carbs, potassium, and protein to a lesser level. Growing taro as a food crop is a staple crop in many nations, particularly in Asia.
Taro grows best in tropical to subtropical climates, but if you don’t reside in one (USDA zones 10-11), you can grow it in a greenhouse. It will require considerable room because the huge leaves grow to a height of 3-6 feet (1-2 meters). Patience is also essential, as taro requires seven months of warm weather to grow.
To get a sense of how many plants to cultivate, a decent estimate is 10-15 plants per person. Tubers, which can be found at some nurseries or grocers, especially if you have access to an Asian market, are an easy way to propagate the plant. Tubers can be smooth and spherical or rough and fibered, depending on the species. Simply plant the tuber in an area of the garden that has rich, wet, well-draining soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
Set the tubers in furrows 6 inches (15 cm) deep, spaced 15-24 inches (38-60 cm) apart in rows 40 inches (1 m) apart, and cover with 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) of dirt. Keep the taro moist at all times; like rice, taro is often produced in damp paddies. Use a high-potassium organic fertilizer, compost, or compost tea to feed the taro. A second crop can be planted between the rows around 12 weeks before the first crop is harvested to ensure a continuous supply of taro.
You should see a little green stem pushing up through the earth within the first week. Depending on the species, the plant may soon grow into a thick shrub that can reach a height of 6 feet (2 meters). The plant will continue to give out shoots, leaves, and tubers as it grows, allowing you to pick some of it without damaging it. From sowing corms until harvesting, the entire process takes roughly 200 days.